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Former Bishop Canevin hockey player joining Michigan junior team

| Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:43 p.m.
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Liam Walsh scored 44 points for the Bishop Canevin hockey team as a freshman.

Liam Walsh said leaving home will be hard, but to reach his goals as a hockey player, it is a must.

Walsh will travel to Michigan to join Victory Honda U16, a team based out of Plymouth, a suburb of Detroit.

“It was a tough decision, especially for my mom,” Walsh said. “It was tough because I just joined a school (Bishop Canevin), and I had to say goodbye to all of my friends. I had a great year with the Canevin hockey team last year. I am going to miss it.

“But is a great opportunity for my future.”

Walsh scored 44 points in his only season at Bishop Canevin. The Crusaders went 23-3 last season and won the Class AA Penguins Cup.

But after being scouted and offered a spot with the Victory Honda squad, Walsh decided he needed to leave home.

Victory Honda is a member of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. The squad plays in the Detroit Division against Belle Tire, Cleveland Barons, Oakland Junior Grizzlies and the Ohio Blue Jackets. The U16 league has teams the span from Los Angeles to New Jersey.

“The end goal is to be able to play for a major Division I team,” said Walsh, who previously played for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Pittsburgh Hornets travel teams. “Being in Detroit, you are at the center of hockey.”

Walsh said the move to Michigan will bring him closer to USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. The teams are based out of Ann Arbor, which is 45 minutes outside of Detroit.

Playing for Victory Honda will allow Walsh to test himself at the highest level of junior hockey in the United States.

“The speed is definitely going to pick up,” Walsh said. “The players are going to be a lot bigger. The experience is going to help me get bigger, stronger and help my progression. You always want to play against the best talent.”

Walsh is working to fulfill what has been a lifetime dream. He said he started to skate when he was 2 and picked up a stick when he was 4 or 5. His inspiration to play was older brother Matt, a standout who played for Bishop Canevin and is now with the Miami (Oh.) club team.

“I used to watch him play,” Walsh said. “I always wanted to be like him.”

Walsh will leave Pittsburgh in August and begin attending school in Michigan. As big as the change will be, Walsh said he is embracing it.

“It is very exciting,” Walsh said. “This is every kid's dream. I am looking forward to playing at the highest level I can right now.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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